Even with snow on the ground and frigid temperatures all around, Food Bowl remains in full swing.
But, on the weather front, the advantage may be to Elma’s favor since Montesano has been frozen solid with snow on the ground and schools closed between last Friday and Tuesday.
The weather won’t stop these students, though, who have taken to the streets to gather money and food to benefit East County food banks. Students from both schools will be on hand Saturday, taking donations at Montesano’s annual Festival of Lights.
And while the economy seems to be improved from past years, there’s still a dire need to feed the needy of local communities and demands on the food banks continue to rise locally.
“We depend on it tremendously,” said Lynn Kiser, director of the Montesano Food Bank. “Besides the amount of food they bring in, the money is totally important also. If they didn’t bring in the money, there’s a lot of things I couldn’t get for the clients.
The Montesano Food Bank is just coming off feeding 181 local families for Thanksgiving, an increase over last year and Kiser is looking forward to the cupboards being re-stocked for Christmas. She said that besides tons of food, the Montesano students gathered $23,000 last year for the food bank, a sum that helps the community for months.
“There are just so many things I can get with that money,” noted Kiser, who said she often buys things like cereal, peanut butter and laundry soap to supplement what they get from Coastal Harvest, the main supplier of food banks throughout the Harbor.
“There are a lot of food banks that don’t offer that, but because this community is so supportive, I feel I can do that. And if it weren’t for all the food the students collect, then that money would have to go toward the basic necessities.”
Linda Scerbo, co-director of the East Grays Harbor Food Bank in Elma echoed Kiser’s sentiments.
“We serviced 755 families at our three food banks last month,” Scerbo said, noting that her organization provides commodities for food banks in Elma, McCleary and Malone. “Food Bowl means a lot. The school (Elma High) was able to gather about 16,000 pounds of food and $20,000 last year. “With the money they collect, it’s providing funds up here to help us operate two to three months. It’s a huge chunk of our yearly project. It’s a great fundraiser”
Food Bowl runs through the afternoon of Dec. 17, when the two schools will bring in their donated bounty for the much-anticipated weigh-in. Until then, there are still a number of events and places at which East County citizens can donate. You can also donate by stopping by any of the local schools.
Montesano High Food Bowl adviser Anne Ekerson notes that due to the inclement weather over the weekend some of the paper bags delivered to residences for donations were not picked up or left on doorsteps. It’s still not too late to send it to school with a student who lives in the neighborhood, bring it into a school office or call the high school at (360) 249-4041 for pick-up. Due to the extreme cold and icy conditions, many bags may have been missed.
Also, because of school closures, some of Montesano’s events were cancelled or rescheduled. Any person or business who wishes to make a donation as part of the Food Bowl competition has until Tuesday, Dec. 17.
Dessert Bingo — On Sunday, Dec. 15, the school will host a dessert bingo night starting at 7 p.m. in the high school commons — $5 per bingo card. Local businesses and popular chefs will be making dessert for this event.
Boys Buff Volleyball — On Thursday, Dec. 12, several boys teams will be competing on the volleyball court in the high school gym for the popular Boys’ Buff Volleyball Tournament. Competition begins at 7 p.m.. Admission is six cans of food or $3.
Student Stoplight — Throughout Food Bowl, Montesano students will be collecting monetary donations at the four-way stoplight in town.
Festival of Lights — On Saturday, Dec. 14, Montesano High students will be located throughout the town, taking food and monetary donations toward Food Bowl.
Boot Drive— Friday, Dec. 13, the students will be conducting their boot drive at the stoplight in Elma from 8 a.m. until 4 p.m.
Collections — Elma will have its Grocery Store Brigade out at Everybody’s and Gordon’s from 3:30 to 6:30 p.m. each day through Dec. 13.
Bingo/Auction — Basket Bingo, Dessert Auction and goodie walk is 6 to 8 p.m. Thursday, Dec. 12 in the EHS commons.
Festival of Lights — On Saturday, Dec. 14, Elma High students will be located throughout Montesano, taking food and monetary donations toward Food Bowl.